Skip to content

It’s been eight years since “Talladega Nights” was released, and NASCAR has changed a lot since

Aug 4, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

Kurt Busch AP

The Will Ferrell goofball comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby premiered in theaters eight years ago today, and it’s been fascinating to see what’s happened to the world of NASCAR since August 4, 2006.

Here’s just a brief summation of the things and moments captured in Talladega Nights that are either still relevant today or have changed in that time frame:

  • NASCAR has been through two new generations of cars, as the Car of Tomorrow premiered in 2007, went through enhancements and then launched the new Generation-6 car in 2013.
  • NASCAR’s last season on NBC was in 2006… it will return in 2015. The booth crew changes, from Bill Weber, Wally Dallenbach Jr. and the late, great Benny Parsons to Rick Allen, Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte next year.
  • SPEED Channel is no more, as it chronicled Ricky Bobby’s return to the track at Rockingham (which no longer holds a Cup race) for a test after his accident at Charlotte that led to the whole “Help me Tom Cruise!” gag.
  • Nextel was still the series title sponsor; Cup did not become the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series until 2008.
  • Kurt Busch has followed a Ricky Bobby-like odyssey of his own, with a high-profile fall from grace from Team Penske at the end of 2011, to then actually driving a Ricky Bobby-inspired “ME” paint scheme with permission from all involved at Talladega the spring of 2012 with, fittingly, Phoenix Racing as the team. And that was to raise awareness for the Armed Forces Foundation. With Furniture Row Racing a year later, he drove a Wonder Bread-sponsored car. Now, Busch is back with a top team in Stewart-Haas Racing, and also been one of the stories of the 2014 racing season with his double attempt at Indianapolis and Charlotte Memorial Day weekend – the former event where he won the rookie-of-the-year honors after a sixth place finish.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in his eventual second-to-last season at Dale Earnhardt Inc. (2007) before his first at Hendrick Motorsports (2008). “Junior” switched from the 8 to 88 in ’08.
  • Jamie McMurray has gone from Chip Ganassi Racing to Roush Fenway Racing and then back to Ganassi.
  • Michael Waltrip called Talladega Nights great.
  • No “Jean Girard” type has entered NASCAR, but Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya entered NASCAR at the tail end of 2006 to provide the first consistent, full-time foreign driver from 2007 through 2013. JPM didn’t sip macchiatos; he did manage to hit a jet drier once, and that’s spawned an endless barrage of bad jokes since the 2012 Daytona 500. Of course now, JPM is back in IndyCar where he races against a guy who can pull off a wicked Jean Girard imitation – actual Frenchman Simon Pagenaud.
  • A litany of corporate sponsors – some of which were lampooned in the movie – have since left the sport.
  • One of the actors in the film got arrested for domestic violence… and that came only a month after he was arrested for reckless driving. Surprisingly, that actor wasn’t one of the two who played Ricky Bobby’s troublesome twosome of kids, Walker and Texas Ranger – it was the actor who played a young “RB” himself.
  • Talladega Nights-inspired restaurant was sued by Sony Pictures.

There’s undoubtedly more, but for now, we’ll simply leave you with those moments to chew on.

Latest Posts
  1. Dixon’s latest title a story of consistency, comeback, typical “Ice Man” cool

    Aug 31, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    DixonChamp2 AP

    MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno reflects on the latest championship achieved by Scott Dixon and the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team.

  2. Damien Power hits Sonoma in person, live tweets, preps for IndyCar video series

    Aug 31, 2015, 5:35 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    Damien Power hits Sonoma to meet up with brother Will. Hilarity ensues.

  3. Gabby Chaves confirmed as 2015 IndyCar rookie-of-the-year

    Aug 31, 2015, 12:27 PM EDT

    GCroty15 Getty Images

    Chaves first driver in nearly a decade to win both Indy 500, IndyCar top rookie honors in same season.

  4. Gonzalez delivers huge result for Coyne with No. 18 car’s best finish of ninth

    Aug 31, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    IndyCar’s biggest underdog driver, team has their day at Sonoma.

  5. RHR, Kimball bank podiums; others throughout field star under-the-radar at Sonoma

    Aug 31, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    SonomaPodium AP

    The rest of the stories of note, to cap off the IndyCar season at Sonoma.

  6. As Justin Wilson is remembered, Oriol Servia hopes he did the car, family proud (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:39 PM EDT

    ServiaRecap AP

    It wasn’t the result, but the strength, of Oriol Servia in Justin Wilson’s car this weekend that shown through.

  7. Power, Newgarden and Castroneves run out of luck in championship hunt (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:34 PM EDT

    Will Power, Josef Newgarden Will Power, Josef Newgarden

    A look at how the championship hopes for the three drivers ended in the GoPro GP of Sonoma.

  8. Double points reverse Montoya’s IndyCar championship hopes (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 9:17 PM EDT

    Juan Pablo Montoya Juan Pablo Montoya

    Juan Pablo Montoya blamed the double-points awarded in the season finale for missing out on the IndyCar championship.

  9. Rahal’s dream season finally hits trouble in Sonoma finale (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT

    RahalLoss AP

    Rahal endures disastrous finale at Sonoma, falls from second to fourth after 18th place finish.

  10. Scott Dixon captures Sonoma race win and 2015 IndyCar championship (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 7:18 PM EDT

    DixonTitle1 AP

    Dixon wins race, title in Sonoma in dramatic fashion.

  11. Sebastian Saavedra leads at halfway in IndyCar season finale (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    Will Power and Juan Montoya must fight from the back of the field following an accident.

  12. Robin Miller pays tribute to Justin Wilson (VIDEO)

    Aug 30, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Robin Miller remembers Justin Wilson in this touching tribute.

  13. Webber elated with “awesome” first WEC victory

    Aug 30, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    © FIA WEC © FIA WEC

    Webber and the no. 17 Porsche crew claimed their first win at the 6 Hours of Nürburgring on Sunday.

  14. INDYCAR confirms Chevrolet wins fourth straight Manufacturer’s Championship

    Aug 30, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    ChevySTPdomination AP

    Chevrolet wins its fourth straight INDYCAR Manufacturer’s Championship.

  15. WATCH LIVE: IndyCar’s championship decided in Sonoma at 1 p.m. PT, 4 ET on NBCSN

    Aug 30, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    SonomaTitle AP

    With heavy hearts, IndyCar moves ahead and will crown its champion this afternoon in Sonoma.

  16. WATCH: Red Bull Global Rallycross midseason review at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC

    Aug 30, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT

    GRCDaytona Getty Images

    Catch up on the Red Bull Global Rallycross season at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

  17. Maldonado: Good feeling heading into Italian GP weekend

    Aug 30, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 21, 2015 in Spa, Belgium. Getty Images

    Maldonado keen to make up for his DNF in the Belgian Grand Prix at Monza.

  18. What to watch for: IndyCar at Sonoma (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN and Live Extra)

    Aug 30, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    SonomaW2W4 AP

    What to watch for ahead of the 16th and final round of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma from Sonoma Raceway.